Gross science news of the day brought to you by Meera.
Did you sneeze today? Go to the bathroom? Ride the subway? Get out of bed? Chances are you picked up and dropped off thousands germs along the way. While many microbes help us survive, some germs can be pretty nasty – and sometimes can make you sick.
How easily can germs spread you ask? Since germs are microscopic, meaning they are invisible to the naked eye, we can’t see them living all over our skin. We’ve created a way to help the K-1 class in our Kids Crew after school program see how easily icky germs can spread and teach them the importance of hand washing.
Cut two hand holes in the side of the box and line the holes with foam paper to reduce the amount of daylight that enters the box. Cut a hole or two in the lid for kids to look through. Tape the blacklight inside the box, insert your hands, and look through the holes on the lid!
Glowbug lotion is blacklight sensitive, which means it has pigments that are invisible to the naked eye but glow blue-white under the blacklight. Kids can rub the lotion on their hands, insert them into the Microbe Hunter, wash their hands, and check again.
The parts of the hand that still “light up” in the Microbe Hunter can indicate areas that didn’t get washed well (often under fingernails, between fingers, and near joints). Those are areas where millions of germs might be living. K-1 washed their hands again quickly after being grossed out- but realized they may not have been using the right hand washing technique.
To keep your hands germ free, the kids in K-1 suggest:
1. Use soap!
2. Wash your hands while singing “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet – twice.
3. Don’t forget the hard to reach spots such as nail beds and crevices near your joints.